Middlesbrough boss Karanka confident players will impress in Premier League

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka says the performance of his side against Stoke City proved that they have the players capable of impressing in the Premier League.

Monday, 15th August 2016, 10:00 am
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka (left) and Stoke City manager Mark Hughes shake hands prior to the Premier League match at the Riverside Stadium. Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Boro dominated the first-half on Saturday at the Riverside, Álvaro Negredo opening the scoring, but the visitors equalised through a Xherdan Shari free kick after the break for a share of the points.

Karanka refused to be down on the issue of letting a lead slip, instead he focused on the positives and the way his squad adapted to the demand of the top-flight in their first outing.

“I can’t be disappointed, especially with our performance and with the attitude of the team,” the Spaniard said after the game.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It’s true that maybe we should’ve won the game, but we can’t forget that three months ago we were playing in the Championship and they had finished ninth in the Premier League, so for that reason I’m more than pleased.

“We had six or seven players who were playing their first game in the Premier League, so it’s been good for me to know that we’re ready once again. We showed that.

“We are in the Premier League and now we have to take advantage in every situation as the opponent always will.

“Their four players up front – Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Bojan and Diouf – they are all quality and with one free-kick they scored.”

Negredo’s header in the 11th minute was a happy return to the first tier for the Spaniard after a less-than-happy spell at Man City three seasons ago when he failed to establish himself.

“It’s important for Negredo to score, as when we signed him I said that he needed to recover his confidence,” Karanka added.

“A player who won the Premier League two or three years ago with Man City can’t forget to play – so for us, it’s an amazing signing. But we need to keep working with him.”

Fellow new signing Marten de Roon, meanwhile, is expected to be out for a month after coming off injured inside the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s league opener.